Brazil warns Covid-19 pandemic could get worse

Brazil's death toll from Covid-19 in Brazil has surpassed 500,000 as of Saturday (19/6). Experts warn that the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil could get worse due to delayed vaccinations and the government's refusal to support social distancing measures.

UMMATIMES - So far only 11 percent of Brazilians have been fully vaccinated. Epidemiologists warn that, the arrival of winter in the southern hemisphere and new variants of the coronavirus circulating, will lead to an increase in deaths.

Brazil has recorded 500,800 deaths out of 17,883,750 confirmed cases of Covid-19. According to Health Ministry data on Saturday, over the past week, Brazil had an average of 2,000 deaths per day. Experts say the number of deaths from Covid-19 in Brazil will rise much higher.

"I think we will reach 700,000 or 800,000 deaths before we see the effects of vaccination," said Gonzalo Vecina, former head of Brazil's health regulator Anvisa. "We are experiencing the arrival of this new variant and the Indian variant will send us to repeat," he added.

Vecina criticized right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic. These include the lack of a coordinated national response and its skepticism about vaccines, lockdowns, and relaxed mask wearing requirements.

Thousands of Brazilians protested the Bolsonaro government's management of the pandemic. They blamed the government for the high death toll and called for the president's overthrow.

A researcher at the Brazilian biomedical center Fiocruz, Raphael Guimaraes, said delaying Brazil's vaccination program could increase the number of infections until September or beyond. Guimaraes warned that Brazil could revisit its worst case of infection from the March-April peak, when the country recorded an average of 3,000 deaths per day.

"We are still in a very critical situation, with very high transmission rates and critical hospital bed occupancy in many places," Guimaraes said.